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Researching the Fortress of Louisbourg National Historic Site of Canada
  Recherche sur la Forteresse-de-Louisbourg Lieu historique national du Canada


Extracts of Matters of Historical Interest from "The Huissier, News For and About the Fortress of Louisbourg Heritage Presentation Staff" By The Fortress of Louisbourg Heritage Presentation Staff


(September 8, 2003)

Sources of News & Information in the 18th Century

By Eric Krause - September 19, 1991

There were many sources of information at this time in history:

Personal Diaries

We have not located many French diaries. We have found many more English diaries, since many English officers kept them with the intention of having them published.


There was no printing press in Louisbourg, so there were no newspapers.


There would be 3 or 4 of these posted within the town for government information. Estate sales, declarations of war, and other information from France would have been posted in this fashion. Information on corporal punishments would also be posted in placard locations.


He announces same information that would be found on the placards, presumably for the benefit of the high number of illiterates in the colony.


Books would have been brought over from France, i.e. reference books, codes and laws.

Word of Mouth

Most news was spread this way.

Personal Letters

This could take a long time since there was no postal system per se. Government correspondence was cleared through Marine Headquarters. Copies of Government documents were sent aboard several vessels in case ships sank. A copy was kept by the correspondent

Private mail was randomly sent and arrived at all times. One chose a more seaworthy vessel to ensure its safe arrival.

No major effort was made (by government officials) to inform the people, perhaps on the theory that 'ignorance is bliss'.


Information was also received through libertarians - often literate vagabonds, or people who did not fit in. They were often considered to be 'free-thinkers' in the colonial context